Gastritis develops if the stomach lining is inflamed after it has been damaged. It is a common condition that has a variety of causes. In most cases, it is not serious and often improves rapidly if treated. If not, it can persist for years.
Many individuals with gastritis due to a bacterial infection do not have any symptoms. In some instances, gastritis can trigger the following:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Sensation of fullness after eating
- Burning or gnawing stomach pain
In case the stomach lining is worn out and exposed to the stomach acid, the symptoms might include pain or discomfort, bleeding or even a stomach ulcer. The symptoms of gastritis might arise abruptly and severely or persist for a long time.
What are the causes?
Gastritis is generally caused by any of the following:
- H. pylori bacterial infection
- Regular use of ibuprofen, aspirin or other pain medications categorized as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Excessive use of alcohol or cocaine
- Stressful events such as a major surgery, critical ailment or severe injury
- Autoimmune reaction (uncommon)
Management of gastritis
The treatment for gastritis is aimed on reducing the amount of stomach acid to alleviate the symptoms, enable the stomach lining to heal and managing of the underlying cause. The condition can be treated on your own, depending on the cause.
Measures to ease the symptoms include:
- Antacids – over-the-counter medications work by neutralizing the stomach acid that provides rapid pain relief
- Histamine (H2) blockers – these medications work by reducing the acid production
- Proton pump inhibitors – the medications lessen the acid production more effectively than the H2 blockers
If the cause of gastritis is an H. pylori infection, a course of antibiotics is required along with a proton pump inhibitor.
In case the cause might be repetitive use of NSAIDs, it is best to switch to a different variant such as paracetamol. Just make sure that a doctor is consulted first.
Other considerations include:
- Eat small, frequent meals
- Avoid any irritating foods such as those that are acidic, spicy or fried
- Proper management of stress
- Avoid or limit alcohol intake